Winter storm threatens to disrupt much of the United States

A powerful winter storm slithered through the upper Midwest on Friday, following a circuitous path that forecasters say could create a c...

A powerful winter storm slithered through the upper Midwest on Friday, following a circuitous path that forecasters say could create a cascade of power outages, dangerous travel conditions and deep supply chain issues across a vast part of the country stretching from the south to the east coast.

The sprawling weather system triggered winter storm warnings and watches from North Dakota all the way north into the Mississippi and into Raleigh, North Carolina, and parts of western New York.

But some ambiguity remained about how much snow, ice and rain the storm could bring in the coming days, particularly in the northeast and mid-Atlantic, where another storm took officials unprepared transport and blocked hundreds of drivers in Virginia last week.

“This is going to be a major setback for several days for businesses trying to move products across the country just because of the magnitude of the storm,” Jonathan Porter, AccuWeather’s chief meteorologist, based at State College, in Pennsylvania, said Friday.

Interior portions of the Appalachians stretching from western North Carolina and western Virginia to western Pennsylvania and upstate New York could receive 12 to 18 inches of snow during the storm, said Mr. Porter. Snowfall rates could exceed one inch per hour in some locations, which could cause significant travel delays.

“It’s falling too fast for the road teams, great as they are, to keep pace,” he said.

In the northeast, the storm is expected to bring one to three inches of snow to Washington, Philadelphia, New York and Boston from noon Sunday through Monday morning, Porter said, noting the precipitation would most likely turn to rain and could vary in quantity if the storm moves.

He warned the storm could produce wind gusts of up to 70 miles per hour along the coast.

In the south, ice was a major concern for meteorologists, who said northeast Georgia and the Carolinas were expected to bear the brunt of freezing precipitation Saturday night through Sunday.

“While there’s going to be a lot of talk about the snow, we’re also sounding the alarm about the ice storm coming to the Carolinas,” Porter said. “It appears to be a recipe for prolonged power outages and tree damage in these areas.”

Some airports and transport services were already preparing for possible travel problems.

David Roth, a senior forecaster with the National Weather Service, said late Thursday that meteorologists expected the forecast to change.

“There is more uncertainty than usual,” Roth said. “When it comes to telling the difference between rain and sleet and freezing rain and snow, subtle changes make a big difference.

Friday morning saw snow falling in parts of North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin, according to the weather service. Road conditions were already deteriorating rapidly, the agency’s office in Bismarck, ND said.

“This snow will combine with gusty winds to produce slippery, snowy roads and significantly reduced visibility,” the weather service said on Twitter. “Travel will likely become dangerous to dangerous at times.”

The storm is expected to move southeast later Friday toward Iowa, where some areas could receive 6 to 10 inches of snow, according to the weather service.

Southwest Airlines warned Thursday that travelers passing through or arriving from Des Moines International Airport could see delayed, diverted or canceled flights. Other cities under the airline recommendations for travelers include St. Louis, Omaha and Kansas City, Mo. American airlines and Delta makes similar weather-related announcements.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday advised travelers to check with their airlines for storm-related delays and cancellations, saying those decisions are made by the carriers.

The storm could bring wintry weather to parts of western Kentucky and southeastern Missouri by Friday evening, with snowfall of up to four inches, according to the Weather Service Office in Paducah, Ky.

As well as exacerbating supply chain issues, forecasters warned that the storm could hamper coronavirus testing operations in many regions and put additional strain on healthcare workers. The storm could also further complicate recovery efforts in Kentucky and other areas that were ravaged by a series of deadly tornadoes last month, forecasters said.

Nashville could get three to six inches of snow starting around noon Saturday, with heaviest snowfall north of the city in what has already been a snowy winter, meteorologists said.

“Nashville could have more snow this winter than Milwaukee and Chicago,” Porter said. “It’s quite impressive.”

On Saturday, the storm system is expected to continue to move southeastward toward upper South Carolina, northeast Georgia and western North Carolina. The weather service said mixed precipitation was possible in the area, with up to 10 inches of snow possible, as well as possible ice accumulations.

Dave Nadler, a meteorologist with the weather service office in Peachtree, Georgia, said in a Report that some ice accumulation in northern Georgia could be significant.

“We are looking at the potential for a major winter storm,” Nadler said. “The look of it and the confidence in it is starting to increase.”

The uncertainty of the forecast could be disconcerting for those living along Interstate 95 in Virginia, after a snowstorm this month left hundreds of drivers stranded in their vehicles for more than 24 hours.

While there is uncertainty in the forecast along the I-95 corridor and to the east, the largest and heaviest impacts of any snowfall are expected west of the area, according to the Meteorological service.

Still, the Virginia Department of Transportation was taking no chances, and on Thursday its crews began spraying portions of I-95 with a salt and brine solution, which helps prevent ice from bonding to roads. .

“Drivers should avoid unnecessary travel on Sunday with the risk of hazardous weather and road conditions during or even after the storm,” the department said in a statement. “Even with pre-treatment, icy to slippery conditions are still possible.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Winter storm threatens to disrupt much of the United States
Winter storm threatens to disrupt much of the United States
Newsrust - US Top News
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